Benefits of joining the BPSA are usually unknown until you have joined. Most of us arrive at university assuming this is where all our learning experience takes place. But who said the Pharmacy course must only revolve around lectures and labs? The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association provides the first step for you to put yourself out there and rise above the increasing competition. They are the official student organisation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the only organisation that solely represents and supports students throughout their university degree. They aim to educate and entertain pharmacy students and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn about the profession. Membership is free and once you’re signed up you automatically obtain a joint membership with the RPS and receive a membership card to enjoy services from both organisations.

The BPSA organise a wide range of beneficial events and services over the course of the year including:

  • Competitions and Awards– e.g. the essay based Young Pharmacist Future Vision Award and The McNeil “Responding to Symptoms” Competition. Cash prizes included.
  • Networking which allows you to improve your communication and interview skills as well as making extremely useful contacts
  • Student Exchange opportunities to undertake pharmacy work in another country. There are hundreds of placements available across the world.
  • BPSA Publications- the Get Involved! electronic newsletter and The Future Pharmacist magazine with articles on different areas of practice and updates from across the profession. This magazine also has a clinical article inside which you can use as a learning resource, then test your knowledge and identify further learning – the perfect way to undertake Continuing Professional Development.
  • Annual and area conferences at affordable prices all over the country- food and freebies included! Presentations, workshops and discussions by specialist guest speakers at the top of the profession. The topics covered are often not taught as part of the university syllabus and target subjects such as prescribing, sexual health, alternative therapies, diabetes care and alternative career paths. Great way to develop your interpersonal skills.
  • Science into Practice Conference- helps you to apply your scientific knowledge into a clinical context and acts to highlight the pharmacists’ role within the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Student Code of Conduct which is based on the principles laid out in the MEP and is a set of guidelines on how pharmacy students should behave during their course.

‘How will all this benefit my career?’ you may ask. 

You will be rewarded for participating in the BPSA events and competitions. The Professional Development Scheme is a method of extra-curricular development offered by the BPSA. It helps to prepare you for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which is a mandatory activity for all UK-registered pharmacists. The programme essentially rewards you for being an active member of the BPSA! With continuously taking part in competitions and conferences you are rewarded with points which make you rise from Level 1 (Bronze) to Level 4 (Platinum) of the PDS during your degree. You will need five points to move up through each level. Imagine what a great boost that will be to your CV! It will get employers fighting for you!

The BPSA opens a world of opportunities to help you build your skills as a future pharmacist and distinguish yourself as the best of the best- so make the most of it!

To stay up to date visit www.bpsa.co.uk, as events are popular and sell out quickly!

Bahareh Motlagh

(BPSA Officer at UCL School of Pharmacy)